The National Limousine Association (NLA) returned—in person—to Washington, D.C. for its annual Day on the Hill this September 20-21 where more than 30 operators from 16 states participated. The two-day lobbying event, which gives the nationwide industry a voice with elected representatives, was particularly important due to the proposed legislative changes that could have had a severe impact on operators.
“This event proved that though our industry may be small, our voice is loud. The dedication and passion from the members who joined us makes me that much more excited for next year's event,” said NLA President Robert Alexander of RMA Worldwide in his president’s letter.
The NLA Legislative Committee (co-chaired by Matt Assolin of Nikko’s Worldwide and Brett Barenholtz of Above All Transportation/Boston Car Service) and its lobbying firm Cornerstone Government Affairs identified the top issues facing the industry to discuss with lawmakers and their staff. Topping the list was the bottleneck in processing the Employee Retention Tax Credit as well as a push for the CERTS Tax Exemption Act (H.R.7477), which provided $2 billion in emergency funds to motorcoach and transportation providers during the COVID shutdowns, but was taxable.
The NLA also lobbied for assistance in reducing airline delays and cancellations, primarily due to the lingering pilot and maintenance staff shortages. The delays are not only frustrating for travelers, but have real consequences for our industry via increased wait times and chauffeur scheduling. NLA expressed strong support of the Let Experienced Pilots Fly bill (H.R.8513/S.4607) that would allow commercial airline pilots to continue flying through 67 instead of the current mandatory retirement requirement at 65. To encourage support of the bill, contact your representative or Kaitlin Burt (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Senator Lindsey Graham’s office.
Additionally, worker classification was a hot topic, and the NLA supports the bipartisan Worker Flexibility and Choice Act (H.R.8442), which fixes problems with the current (and confusing) FLSA overtime rule and gives workers more certainty and security about their pay and job status. Given the rise of the gig economy, the bill would define a new classification between employee and independent contractor that would offer the flexibility of being an IC, while also providing some benefits typically given to employees. To encourage support of the bill, contact your representative or Patrick O'Connor with Rep. Henry Cuellar's office (email@example.com).
The infrastructure bill passed by Congress earlier this year contained language that would have allowed states to impose a variety of regulations on ground transportation operators, inspired by the limousine crash in Schoharie, N.Y., based on the type of vehicle they operate. Springing into action, the NLA worked closely with the N.Y. delegation to successfully stop a federal 9-passenger CDL requirement as well as mandatory inspections, use of electronic logging devices (ELDs), and disclosures in passenger compartments. New federal regulations for vehicle modifiers were also thwarted.
The NLA also hosted its PAC fundraiser event with Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who Alexander says was engaging and receptive to the challenges the industry is facing. He also thanked the NLA PAC Committee, co-chaired by Matt Assolin of Nikko’s Worldwide and Jeff Rose of Attitude New York, for their work and dedication. Those NLA members who would like to support the PAC with a one-time donation and who have given prior permission to solicit for contributions, can click here. Note that contributions must be made from a personal account.
Alexander expressed appreciation for those who helped to organize the event as well as those who attended.
“I would like to thank the NLA Board of Directors and all of the members who attended this year's event. You all took time away from your businesses and personal lives to support and advocate for our industry. Without your participation, we would not have been nearly as successful,” he said.
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